The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

09/24/2008

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Dealing With The Past

"But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept" (Gen. 33:4).

I have often been accused of "living in the past." There are things like old cars, baseball cards, or books about baseball history that I really enjoy. Even though I am not a NY Yankee fan, it was hard to watch the last game played there the other night. Built in 1923, the place just dripped with nostalgic baseball memories. Good memories from the past are fun to relive, but how about the things of our past they we are not so proud of?

Dealing with past conduct, especially things we are not proud of is seldom easy. To confront in the present what we did long ago demands much from us. Guilt is an all consuming emotion. Adding to it is the fear that results from having to face those we have either mistreated or sinned against only compounds the anxiety. Jacob lived with this fear and anxiety for twenty years. To make it worse, the one he sinned against in deceit was his own brother. Jacob with the help of his mom had tricked Esau out of his birthright and blessing and then fled. He had lived with these sins for twenty years.

How could he know Esau's attitude and reaction? What if his brother had been planning revenge for the past twenty years? What if he had been planning carefully for this exact moment of meeting to exact that revenge? I can't begin to imagine what must have been running through Jacob's mind.

"But Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept." Sometimes we are surprised to find out that what we feared is not the reality, especially if those whom we are dealing with are Godly people. The "Esaus" of our lives often respond in a very different way than we had expected. We may even be put to shame by the gracious way that they act. Why?

Its all about forgiveness. When people become Christians, REAL CHRISTIANS, they come to learn what forgiveness is all about. When we remember how much God has forgiven us, how can we not forgive those who have used us shoddily in the past. "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matt. 6:12).

It is much easier to deal with the indiscretions of our past if we have forgiveness in our hearts in the present. We raised out of the waters of baptism cleansed of the sins of our past...Forgiveness is such a Christ-like characteristic. Lets all us it early and often....

Have a great day...Let your light shine for Him.. Love Mark Phil. 4:11

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